A HAMILTON COMMISSION
I am busy gearing up for the summer exhibition season, and still waiting on what seems like 100 gosh darn juried proposals and entries. BUT hopefully it all will become clear in the next month.
STAY TUNED FOR DEETS!
In the meantime, gentle reader, I want to talk to you today about commissions. Yes, commissions. Because my art is so specific, I sometimes meet a client who loves my thang (sorry - I will try not to use that word again!) but wants me to create something more personal for them!
Truthfully, I find commissions a bit more stressful, as I am inherently a people pleaser! BUT COMMISSIONS CAN BE SUPER REWARDING TOO. It is often the opportunity to translate someone else's vision into my own. It kinda reminds me of painting for the theatre!
This commission was SUPER.....it was for The Cotton Factory. Here is how they describe themselves:
"In the heart of lower Hamilton, this formal industrial building from 1900 is a prime example of adaptive reuse. It has been transformed from a cotton mill into a creative industries complex, with space for workshops, galleries, office space for creative professionals, and studios for artists."
Honestly, it is a STUNNING complex, that is going to help reshape that area of Hamilton! I LOVE IT!
OKAY....let's see how this commish shaped up....
The first step is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS the research and inspiration. The gallery below has some of my inspirations and some of my research photos...
So with all that in my head, I do a bunch of rough sketches to try to translate and distill the ideas.....
I then send this rough idea to the client and get their opinions....before I begin to refine the drawing!
....once I have a final drawing that is approved by the client, I translate it to the painting surface...I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but I did take the photo BELOW just after....
...I then begin to block in areas....normally I work up ALL the areas at once....but as I mentioned, I wanted this to be PERFECT - so I worked up each area separately! (Like a crazy TYPE A, neurotic artist-type!)
It takes a while to get it right, as you can see above, at first I painted the lettering in grey.....but that ended up changing, as the painting began to reveal itself to me!
....working up The Cotton Factory Building....
...more work on the shadows and such.....
...as you can see....I changed a few of the architectural details of the building that bring it back in time a bit, by making the windows and doors more in line with the 1900's version of the building!
THAT is something you can do with a painting....
Here....a LOT is done.....I changed the Hamilton lettering to green, but was finding the whole thing a bit HEAVY and ill proportioned....I also thought the black border too demanding for the piece!
...I subtracted the bricks and put in more lightness....I fixed the exterior border....but NOW THERE ARE AREAS THAT ARE TOO LIGHT! I KNOW!!! It's all a bit Goldilocks-like! I did fine tunes the banner at the top - THAT is working now!!
...By putting in a traditional Victorian wallpaper pattern, I have balanced the colours a bit better....I have also added a small more industrial border at the top.....the next step involves a series of white washes and colour glazes to give the painting a sense of age. It's the part that makes my work more 'believable' as an old poster!
HERE IS THE FINAL PROJECT:
I was thrilled with the final look.
Once I get to that point it is safe to show the client.
If at that point, the client has any concerns, I can address them.
It doesn't often happen...let's face it, I am usually my own WORST critic! It helps though when you are crystal clear about how the piece will take shape! Generally, if you like what it is that I do, you will be happy with the result!!
So there it is! My latest commission. If you are interested in doing a commission with me, I would be thrilled to chat with you about it!
You can just email me!!
ALSO.....look for prints and postcards of this fantastic piece coming VERY soon!!!!!
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Rob is a professional artist, lover of vintage stuff, part time smart @ss and compulsive pancake eater!